Pirelli boss Mario Isola says the FIA’s plan to further trim Formula 1’s downforce levels in 2021 to help the tyre company is more a matter of performance than safety.
Pirelli is obliged to provide the same tyres that were used in 2019 for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
With downforce and thus load levels on the tyres expected to increase, it was agreed during the lockdown earlier this year to rein in downforce with revised floor regulations for next season.
However after the problems in Silverstone the FIA has promised a further downforce cut for 2021, with tweaks in a few areas.
The details will be discussed by team technical directors in an FIA technical working group meeting on Friday.
Isola has welcomed the promised changes, but explains that reining in downforce should not be regarded as a safety measure, as Pirelli can always increase pressures to compensate for high loads.
The problem is that higher pressures create other issues that impact the racing, as was seen at Silverstone.
“The FIA decided to do that,” said Isola of the change. “And I cannot say that I’m not in agreement. But I don’t want that the message to be that it’s for safety reasons, because we can use the pressure to compensate for the level of load.
“Obviously, if we consider that from now to the end of 2021 the ability of the teams to develop the cars is huge.
“We can end up at the end of 2021 with a level of load that is really very high.
“And therefore we are obliged to increase the pressure to where we have again degradation, overheating or blistering at the level that we don’t want, so it’s the right move to do for next year.”
Isola said that the higher pressures mandated for the 70th Anniversary GP at Silverstone helped to ensure that there was no repeat of the failures seen at the British GP a week earlier.
“For me it’s not a matter of safety. If we increase the pressure we can compensate for the level of load, the level of stress that you put on the tyres.
“We did it for Silverstone for the second race.
“Okay, it’s difficult to compare, because in the second race we didn’t have a stint of 37-38 laps.
“But according to the analysis we made on tyres after the second Silverstone, everything was working well. So the pressure obviously is playing an important part in this equation.
“And with the pressure we can support the construction.
“You have vertical and lateral forces that are acting on tyres, and we can establish a minimum pressure that is different for each circuit and is calculated according to the level of energy that is going into the tyres.”
Pirelli is still hoping that it can modify the current construction for 2021, and is planning to conduct prototype testing in FP2 sessions later in the season.